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Eight-time Country Music Awards Musician of the Year Mac McAnally entertained 2,000 people during Thursday’s luncheon at the Mississippi Economic Council’s 68th annual meeting held at downtown Jackson’s Convention Complex.

The Belmont, Miss., native has written popular country songs such as Back Where I Come From, Down the Road, and I’m Gonna Love Her on the Radio.

McAnally has been a long-time songwriter for Jimmy Buffet and also has also recorded songs that have been covered by artists such as Kenny Chesney, Sawyer Brown and Charley Pride.

“I’m hoping to make some use of myself and I get to do it with a guitar,” McAnally said before he performed the last song at the MEC luncheon. “That is a serious blessing.”

Before his performance, in an interview with Mississippi Today, McAnally reflected on his Mississippi roots and how they have nurtured his career as a musician.

Q: People have said you’re more than a singer-songwriter. They’ve called you “Mac McAnally the storyteller.” Do you consider yourself to be a storyteller?

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Q: Do you still spend time in your hometown of Belmont?

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Q: You have appeared all over the world. How does it feel when you come back home to Mississippi to perform?

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Q: Are there places you have visited that remind you of Mississippi?

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Q: What would you say to aspiring musicians who may think they are at a disadvantage because they live in Mississippi?

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Sereena Henderson managed Mississippi Today’s social media and reported on Mississippi culture from August 2016 until June 2020. She was also a member of the engagement team and curated and delivered the daily newsletter. Sereena, a native of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, is a graduate of the Ole Miss School of Journalism and New Media.